A. Enlightenment, B. Endarkenment (Hint: There is no C)
Drunken Poet's Dream - Ray Wylie Hubbard, Hubbard, Ray Wylie,
Down Home Country Blues
Pots and Pans
Whoop and Hollar
Every Day is the Day of the Dead
Opium - Ray Wylie Hubbard,
The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
2009 release from the Texas-based singer/songwriter. With a keen eye for observation and a wise man's knowledge, Ray Wylie Hubbard composes and performs a dozen songs that couldn't spring from anywhere else but out of his ... more »fertile Rock 'n' Roll bluesy poet-in-the-blistering-heat southern noggin. The writing and recording of A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment came on the heels of Hubbard's screenplay endeavor, which was funded and filmed with a cast of icons including Kris Kristopherson, Dwight Yoakam, and Lizzy Caplan. A weekly radio show, constant touring, and producing kept him busy, but didn't manage to steal the Texan singer/songwriter's focus. The outcome of the album is a juxtaposition of songs like 'Four Horseman Of The Apocalypse,p a fundamental Gospel piece, and 'Drunken Poet's Dream,' a co-write with Hayes Carll.« less
2009 release from the Texas-based singer/songwriter. With a keen eye for observation and a wise man's knowledge, Ray Wylie Hubbard composes and performs a dozen songs that couldn't spring from anywhere else but out of his fertile Rock 'n' Roll bluesy poet-in-the-blistering-heat southern noggin. The writing and recording of A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment came on the heels of Hubbard's screenplay endeavor, which was funded and filmed with a cast of icons including Kris Kristopherson, Dwight Yoakam, and Lizzy Caplan. A weekly radio show, constant touring, and producing kept him busy, but didn't manage to steal the Texan singer/songwriter's focus. The outcome of the album is a juxtaposition of songs like 'Four Horseman Of The Apocalypse,p a fundamental Gospel piece, and 'Drunken Poet's Dream,' a co-write with Hayes Carll.
"I've said it once and I'll keep saying it until I see something change, "Texas music has become so extremely diluted; sometimes it's difficult to distinguish it from the crap emitted from the sewers running beneath the city of Nashville."
There are a few exceptions. Guy Clark continues to write and record in his own unique and earthy style. Hayes Carll is releasing some amazing music, as is Jon Dee Graham. There are others but this is not the topic at hand here. Thank the God of your choice, whoever that is, for the above artists and others like them who have yet to sell their souls.
In addition, thank him, her, or it for this latest record from Ray Wylie Hubbard! This enormously talented singer and songwriter has once again blessed us with his latest release from Bordello Records, "A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: there is no C)".
This latest endeavor, scheduled for release today, is a tremendously good album and I would have to say, it's his best album to date. In fact, the more I listen to it the more I want to use the word "Masterpiece". He just keeps writing better, playing better, singing better, working with great producers and engineers. Everyone just seems to be clicking along on all pistons, coming together to out do themselves time and time again. You would think, at some point, he would reach his apex, but he keeps out doing himself release after release. Is there no end to this? I certainly hope not. As far as I'm concerned, this could go on forever.
Mr. Hubbard has invited many of the usual suspects to join him in this latest effort. Seth James, Gurf Morlix, Ray's son Lucas Hubbard (on board for a couple track), and Rick Richards are as reliable as ever.
Lucas Hubbard is maturing into a superb lead guitarist in his own right.
I saw Ray do a solo gig in Kerrville, Texas at the now defunct Hill Country Opry. It was about 6 years ago so Lucas may have been about eleven, or maybe twelve back then. When we walked in Ray and Lucas were over to the side of the small stage in what appeared to be a guitar lesson or maybe the two were just warming up. I just remember me walking up to Ray after they were through, and introducing myself. Lucas set the acoustic guitar he had been playing to the side and ran outside the establishment to play in the beer garden with my then nine or ten-year-old son, Kyle.
Let's just say, Lucas doesn't run out to play anymore. He stays on the stage and holds his own with the likes of Seth James, Gurf Morlix, and many others. He plays lead on several tracks on this record and does an outstanding job on "Wasp's Nest" and "Pots and Pans". Why shouldn't he? The lad has had some remarkable teachers come along in his young life. Besides, it's obviously in the genes.
Also on this outing Mr. Hubbard invited Austin based singer-songwriter Bukka Allen to join the mix, adding his virtuosity on keyboards for several tracks. He is an extremely welcome addition to the record, especially on "Loose" where he plays organ.
David Abeyta of Reckless Kelly plays guitar on the same track. Mr.Abeyta brings his expertise and commanding style of guitar playing to this tune and literally cuts "Loose" (pun definitely intended) on the tune "Loose", a great rock ballad cut out of the same cloth as an old Allman Brothers Band song but performed in such a way only Mr. Hubbard could perform it. Ray's raspy voice adds to the bluesy nature of the lyrics. It may be the most traditionally rock `n roll song on the record and I loved it.
Ray Wylie Hubbard, since (in my opinion) 1994's "Loco Gringo's Lament", continues to raise the bar for himself, getting better and better with each endeavor. This record is no exception to that rule. The bar has, once again been raised. You will never put a Ray Wylie Hubbard record on and ridiculously inquire, "Is that Trace Adkins?" Those knowledgeable in the traditions of Mr. Hubbard will just simply express themselves with a pleasure filled grin and in an almost orgasmic tone respond, "oh yeah, Ray!"
The tunes on this record have all been so sonically well written, arranged, laid out, and performed, a mood or setting is being created for the listener to actually reside. It is sound, yet the listeners will feel as if they can actually reach out and touch it. This is because Mr. Hubbard's signature resides on every track. The record has a very rich and clean sound to it, creating an atmosphere that surrounds the listener. When listening to the record, close your eyes, you will feel something very organic engulfing your very being.
Gurf Morlix helped with the engineering of the album and it shows. It may have Mr. Hubbard's signature, but it most definitely has Mr. Morlix's fingerprints, as did Betty Soo's fantastic record released last year, "Water Sin Heat Skin".
The title of the album is as appropriately named as any record Mr. Hubbard has recorded. I would have to say "A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: there is no C)" is somewhat of spiritually conceived recording, but spiritualism via Ray Wylie Hubbard.
This record could be listened to by a Christian, a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Native-American Spiritualist, someone Islamic, hell it could be listened to by an atheist, and no one would be offended. At least they shouldn't be. So, in that sense, It's not as simple a recording as it would at first appear. I prefer to call it "Ray Wylie Hubbardism". It's open to everyone. Just bring the God of your choice, or bring no one at all along for the ride. Just be sure to buckle you, him, her, or it in tight. It's going to be an unrestrained roller coaster of a ride.
`Rebel' Rod says to stop in your tracks and purchase your copy of "A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: there is no C)". Can anyone smell a Grammy? I can. Remember, the Americana genre now has its own category. You know something though; Ray Wylie Hubbard may be entirely to cool for the "Dark Lords of Grammydomorah". "
Primal grooves and basic instincts, occasionally shrouded in
Colin Spence | Formby, UK | 01/20/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not familiar with the early music of Ray Wylie Hubbard - the only albums I have are 'Growl' and 'Snake Farm'. Although 'A/B no C' has a slightly different sound, it still has the same basic ingredients as those other two albums : a unique brand of (predominantly) spooky, groove-infested swamp-rock-Americana; parched, world-weary vocals delivered with a sardonic edge; playing which is stripped down yet incisive; and songs often inhabited by characters from the dark dungeon that is Ray Wylie's mind.
Music-wise, Ray Wylie Hubbard has always struck me as being a law unto himself, and with 'A/B no C', he seems to be developing an even more idiosyncratic style. Upon first hearing his music, it was the groove-ridden sound that sent me scurrying for my credit card. However, once I'd had an opportunity to listen more attentively, it soon became apparent that he was an adept lyricist with a keen awareness of the perverseness of the human condition - here, with the emphasis upon sin, salvation and sensuality. All songs are written by Ray Wylie, except 'Drunken Poet's Dream' - co-written with Hayes Carll, and 'Every Day is the Day of the Dead - co-written with band member Billy Cassis.
Ray Wylie plays acoustic, resonator and electric guitars (with and without slide) and harmonica; he is ably supported by a whole host of players and vocalists (no less than 15 - I think) - other featured instruments include : mandolin, dobro, banjo, fiddle, electric bass and keyboards. Without a doubt, all are fine musicians, but I feel the astonishing playing of Rick Richards on drums and percussion (including some less conventional 'instruments') merits a special mention; guest players include: Bukka Allen (keyboards), Ray Bonneville (harmonica) and David Abeyter (electric guitar).
This time around, Ray Wylie co-produces with George Reiff and, like Gurf Morlix before, they ensure that there are no nasty surprises (lush string arrangements, electronic drum loops, syrupy songs etc.) in store for the listener. There's a lot of variety too, with music as diverse as : 'Wasp's Nest' with its heavy duty grind and precision drumming, the mid-tempo toe-tapping backbeat of 'Pots and Pans' with all manner of percussive sounds, the hand-clapping gospel 'knees-up' of 'Whoop and Hollar', or the climactic 'Loose' with searing electric guitar and mind-blowing organ played at fever pitch.
There aren't many tunes that you can whistle along to, but the various facets of the music - vocals, playing, rhythms and lyrics - all complement each other to produce an overall package which I find thoroughly mesmerizing. It's a fine album from a talented artist; and moreover, one who doesn't seem to give a hoot about the commercial viability of his music - in my book, no bad thing. "
WOW, they just don't make CDs this good anymore
macfawlty | potomac, MD USA | 02/03/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The previous reviews give you enough to chew on. All I can say is that this is indeed a masterpiece... a game-changer. A CD so raw, grungy and authentic, produced masterfully. The instrumentation, backup vocals and recording techniques so rare in an over-produced world of studio records. That's probably the reason I listen to and buy mostly live recordings. I want it raw. But when it's done right, like this, it's a game-changer... the model by which all CDs should be recorded and produced. Truly one of the biggest surprises I have come across in a long time."
C. Bowman | ohio | 02/21/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Great album. Gritty writing and sound, with a spark of hope. He achieved his goal of mixing the writing of Guy Clark and playing of John Lee Hooker."
Roger D. Osburn | Stillwater, OK, US | 03/25/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There's not much else to be said regarding the newest masterpiece from one of the most gifted singer/songwriters of this era. As has been stated by a previous reviewer, Ray redeemed himself from being a honky-tonk casualty a long time ago, releasing one critically acclaimed recording after another for the last couple of decades. On this newest offering, he is in full control of the outcome from writing to producing to releasing it on his own label and it is nothing short of brilliant. Favorite tracks: the title cut, "Whoop and Hollar", "Drunken Poet's Dream" and "Pots and Pans", although there's not a bad cut on the album. Do yourself a favor and buy this disc - and then go see him performing live. He is a master at storytelling."